Home Local News Warrant: Infant found in S.C. hotel room died of shaken baby syndrome

Warrant: Infant found in S.C. hotel room died of shaken baby syndrome

Geames Ratliff of Rockingham appears for a bond hearing on Thursday. He is charged with homicide by child abuse. The victim reportedly died of shaken baby syndrome.

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — An infant who was found unresponsive in a hotel room over the weekend suffered injuries consistent with shaken baby syndrome, according to the autopsy.

WMBF reported Thursday that the information on the death was obtained from warrants.

WMBF reports that police responded to a call about an unresponsive infant Aug. 25 at the Camelot by the Sea hotel. During a search of the room, officers with the Myrtle Beach Police Department reportedly found a white substance near the boy’s bottle that tested positive for cocaine.

Police said there were four other children in the room, WMBF reports.

A spokesman for MBPD would not confirm if Ratliff is the child’s father.

According to the television station, the unresponsive child was taken to Grand Strand Medical Center in critical condition. That child died Tuesday morning, Horry County Coroner Robert Edge confirmed to the station.

Rockingham resident Geames Kena Ratliff, 37, was charged late Wednesday afternoon with homocide by child abuse. That charge, if convicted, carries a sentence of 20 years to life, online South Carolina court records show.

Ratliff had a bond hearing Thursday morning, but WMBF reports the judge said his bond must be set by a circuit court judge because of the seriousness of the charge.

His attorney was not present at the hearing, according to the station.

Ratliff and 32-year-old Laquena Lanishia Bostic, of Hamlet, were arrested and each charged with five counts of unlawful neglect of a child or helpless person by a legal guardian and one count of possession of cocaine.

Ratliff is still being held in the J. Reuben Long Detention Center without bond on the homicide charge. He has a $125,000 secured bond on the neglect and drug charges. 

Bostic was reportedly bailed out.

All defendants facing criminal charges are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

The American Association of Neurological Surgeons defines shaken baby syndrome, or shaken impact syndrome, as “a serious form of abuse inflicted upon a child. It usually occurs when a parent or other caregiver shakes a baby out of anger or frustration, often because the baby will not stop crying.”


The shaking, according to the AANS, can lead to serious or fatal brain injury. Most victims of shaken baby syndrome are younger than 2 years old and the perpetrator is “most often the father, boyfriend of the mother, female babysitter or the mother.”

Also from the AANS:

“The National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome estimates that there are between 600 and 1400 cases in the U.S. a year. Because there is currently no reliable method of collecting these statistics, the true incidence is unknown. This syndrome is the most common cause of death and long-term disability in infants and young children who are victims of child abuse.”